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Your Dutch Colonial Revival Yard

Add authenticity to your Dutch Colonial Revival yard and house with the period elements and features that were used in the revival era of the early 1900’s.


Dutch Colonial Revival with its arch'l features: gambrel gable, shed dormer

The Dutch Colonial Revival style is one of the many revival styles that occurred at the end of the Victorian era. The renewed interest in original period colonial architecture, which included the popular Dutch Colonial, led to the colonial revival period. Our grandfather was one of the many who liked this style, and had a large Dutch Colonial built around 1910. As the revival era took shape, it was typical for house designs to take various and popular classic architectural features from all the original period colonial styles, thus creating a revival era that became rather eclectic. For example, Dutch Colonial Revivals were being designed to include such features as a front entry door with sidelights, dormers, or a front-facing gambrel roof with a cross gambrel, as on our grandparent’s house. These features would not have been found on an original Dutch Colonial. A new and rich architectural period sprung forth, and continues to the present day.

If you would like to add to the authenticity of your Dutch Colonial Revival yard and house, to whatever capacity or degree, some suggestions to help and inspire are:


• traditional style fixtures (wall-mounted, pendant, chandelier, sconces, post lanterns) created from metals, like copper, brass, bronze, and tin (including antique, aged, polished, or black finishes); lantern styles give a traditional look
• traditional features also include glass types of clear, beveled, water, and seeded
• a traditional fixture in cast aluminum (a very weather resistant material) with an aged-look finish can work, too

Mailbox and House Address:

• mailbox: metal or wood post with post cap or finial; metal house-mounted style in a traditional architectural style and finish
• address: choose numerals with a traditional typeface in finishes similar to light fixtures, or, in carved wood
• traditional placement for numerals on an architectural feature, like the front door pediment, porch fascia board over the porch steps, a porch or mailbox post, and, a wall-mounted plaque near the entry door


• forged cast iron (buy powder coated to resist rust), brass, copper (unlacquered brass and copper will age to a patina), bronze
• traditional hardware includes the Suffolk latch, strap hinge, H, and HL hinges, hand-hammered and machine-made nails, shutter dogs, and thumb latch entry door sets
• include traditional styles and finishes for the entry doors, kick plates, doorknockers, door bells, shutters, and gates (gate hardware should be strong and durable to keep it from sagging)


• for driveways: asphalt, concrete, tar and chip, or pavers (standard size clay brick or concrete pavers are very traditional)
• for walks, patios, and terraces: pavers (standard size clay brick or concrete are very traditional), slate, and natural stone; traditional brick paver patterns include running bond, basketweave, and herringbone


• wood fences (picket, rail, board-on-board, open pattern, i.e. lattice) and entry gates with more prominent posts, fence posts (with cap, finial, or chamfered top), trellis, arbors
• colors –shades of white paint or white stain are very traditional; also, colors associated with traditional historical residential architecture (many paint brands have architectural color palettes)


An old-fashion porch swing is still an all-time favorite

Outdoor Furniture:

• tables (dining, side), chairs (dining, Adirondack), chaise lounge, porch swings, gliders, rockers, benches (with or without backrest) made of wood, wrought iron (this material requires more maintenance to keep it from rusting), cast aluminum, wicker, and other materials in traditional styling and detailing can provide a classic look



• popular plants of this period included – rhododendron, azalea, boxwood or hollies or taxus (evergreen foundation plantings were popular), lilac, snowberry, forsythia, hydrangea, viburnum, spiraea, privet, roses, peonies, english ivy, myrtle (Vinca minor), pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis), peonies, iris and tulips, perennials, wisteria growing on arbors, and herb or kitchen gardens
• some popular or common plants of an era may not necessarily be popular with you today, so do your research to know what you like and what you do not like, and also, what is best suited for your yard; selecting new and improved varieties work, too!


• window boxes (wood or metal), planter boxes and stands (wood or metal), traditional lamp posts, weathered clay pots, canvas or outdoor fabric awnings; weathervanes
• interesting and fun period outdoor elements include boot scrapers, forged iron hooks (use in the garage or near the potting table), forged iron bracket arms and a colonial ‘chain’ for hanging baskets, dinner bells, hitching posts, horseshoes
• accessorize with cheerful, and colorful, outdoor cushions and pillows, tablecloths, dinnerware, and flowers; as the years pass, it seems innovation provides us with many vibrant and fun colors, and these will fit nicely with this style house


A new veneer gave a rich texture to a bland chimney

Exterior House Improvements:

• window shutters (raised panel, panels with iconic cut-outs, louver) attached with shutter hinges
• dimensional shingles (provides textural 3-D appearance like the materials old craftsmen used);
• metal windows may be replaced with styles that are more authentic, such as wood/vinyl-clad divided double-hung or casement windows (divided windows are more expensive – if you are on a budget, and who isn’t, use the pop-in grids)
• traditional doors include the classic 4-panel, and 6-panel styles; the Dutch door is a great traditional look for the kitchen or mudroom
• choose a complementary 2-3 paint color palette (for the house itself, for the trim – this could, also, be the same as the house color, and for the entry doors), picking the right colors is a great way to add to the architectural quality of the house (it can also enhance it’s curb appeal)
• any dated or lackluster masonry could be replaced with a more aesthetic choice of stonework, or covered with a veneer – some of these veneer applications are constructed with a concrete product that beautifully resembles natural stone and are more economical
• even modest improvements can add a richer architectural experience for the homeowner
• as a final note: if you are planning an addition to your house, you may want to have an architect design the new addition to make sure it is correctly designed and scaled to preserve the architectural integrity of your house; staying true to the architecture of the house, for any renovation, will add value to your property

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